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Further thoughts on the Glen Keane / Andreas Deja debate

As you might expect, there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Jim Hill shares what he’s learned over the past couple of days.

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There are those JHM stories that people just seem to ignore. And then there are those other articles. The ones that seem to take on a life of their own.

Take — for example — the “Can a few WDFA die-hards really make a difference?” article. The piece where I talked about how veteran Disney animator Andreas Deja has become something of a hero to many over-of-work traditional animators. All because Andreas is reportedly refusing to work on any on WDFA’s upcoming computer animated features. But — at the same time — Glen Keane (considered by many to be the greatest living animator working today) has become something of a pariah with this same group of people. All because Keane has allegedly agreed to work in CG on Disney Feature Animation, “Rapunzel Unbraided.”

Well, as you might expect, a story that said something like that was rather controversial. Which is why quite a few folks came forward to take issue with the piece. Take — for example — this e-mail from Lee C. which read:

I read your article about WDFA 2D animators refusing to work on CG films, where you wrote:

“Who am I talking about? Feature Animation vets like Andreas Deja. Who — I’m told — is absolutely refusing to work on any Disney CG projects.”

A bit later, I came across an article on-line at VFXWorld.com, about “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas” — an upcoming direct-to-video CGI film. Here’s an excerpt:

Veteran Disney animator and Mickey expert Andreas Deja was on hand to give guidance. “There’s a lot of drawing that’s gone on and it’s funny how there are many traditional skills that go into making this type of CG movie,” Marsden explained. “And when scenes come back to us, Andreas helps draw notes…to make sure that Mickey’s eyes are following Donald or his posture needs to be more depressed or his body should be in a certain pose, and the best way to do that is always to draw. So Andreas has been trying to make sure that things are the way we know Mickey.”

Does that count as “working on” a CG film?

Lee C

Which is a fair enough question, don’t you think? Which is why — with the hope that it would clarify my earlier comments — I spent the following note back to Lee C.

Lee —

I’ll grant you that Deja’s consulting work on “Twice Upon a Christmas” could be viewed (by some) as being somewhat hypocritical. But you have to understand that Andreas has a special attachment to the Mouse, having animated the character in both Disney’s “The Prince and the Pauper” and “Runaway Brain.” So he’s become the go-to guy at WDFA as the company tries to successfully translate 2D Mickey Mouse into 3D.

Also please note the way that that article describes Deja’s contribution on “Twice Upon a Christmas: ” … Andreas helps draw notes …” This isn’t a guy who’s clicking keys or picking up an electronic stylus for this production. He’s deliberately hand drawing stuff and then handing it off to Marsden’s people.

I know, I know. A lot of people would say that I’m splitting hairs. But the fact of the matter is — because Andreas is determined to whatever he has to in order to keep Disney traditional animation alive — the guy’s been reduced to working on a direct-to-video project, “Bambi II.” Which you’ll have to admit is a tremendous waste of talent.

Anyway … Thanks for sending this along this morning, Lee. I really do appreciate that you took the time to try and make me aware of this apparent inconsistency in what Deja says and what Deja does.

Best Regards,

jrh

You did catch that little info tidbit in there, didn’t you? That Andreas is now working on “Bambi II” for the folks at Disney Toon Studios (the folks who produce those video premiere projects for Buena Vista Hoem Entertainment)? Which (let me repeat what I sent in my e-mail to Lee C.) seems like a tremendous waste of talent.

Mind you, other e-mails that I received tried to poke holes in Andreas’ “I’m-not-going-to-work-in-CG” claim as well as trying to defend Glen’s position. Take this note from A:

(ITALICS)

Hello Jim,

Due to your recent attacks from readers on the Glen Keane story, I thought I would tell you what I have heard from my inside sources. It’s a sad story but I don’t feel anger is needed. So here is what I have been told.

Several months ago (about October or November) I was talking to a friend of mine at Disney and he was dishing me some dirt on upcoming projects. He was currently working on “My Peoples” (AKA “A Few Good Ghosts” AKA whatever…) He was telling me how really great the movie was going to be, about it being very funny and everyone at the studio was excited about finishing it (including Andreas Deja who was animating a main character in CG).

Now my friend loved to gossip so he wasn’t one to boast on a Disney film out of fear. Anyway, he had been telling me that they had been having trouble with getting the film’s “look” to be acceptable with feature animation head David Stainton and crew. What they were apparently having problems with was the film was using a sort of reverse take on computer/2D hybrid.

The characters in [“My People”] (described as junk puppets) were to be animated in CG and everything else was to be animated traditionally. The look of the film was to be, when the “human” characters were around everything was very smooth Disney 2D as the puppets lay inanimate, but when the puppets came to life (being CG) the animators were purposefully animating them to look more like old Rankin-Bass stop-motion. (Think Rudolph-but animated like Rudolph, not animated smoothly.) My source said that it looked amazing and it was a real fun, fresh way to use computer animation for this picture. Andreas apparently had his hand in the project puposefully trying to work with CG in a new way.

Now, the problems started to arise when screenings began going through Mr. Stainton and crew. Reportedly, every time they would show dailies and what-not in this new technique, he would tell the animators that he didn’t understand why they weren’t making the animation all smooth and flowing “…like Pixar.” They would say that was because they were supposed to be like stop-motion puppets and not “living toys” like in “Toy Story.” Well, in the end this point was never received and the project was cancelled.

Are you still with me? The Glen stuff is coming up.

At this time, my friend had gone to dinner with Andreas Deja and spoken of his displeasure with Disney. Well, to be frankly honest, he was downright depressed. He had stated that at that time, he was THE ONLY 2D animator currently employed at the California studios. It got bad to the point that Andreas actually moved out of the studio and worked almost exclusively out of his home office.

Now that is that….on to Glen.

During this time, several new projects were being tossed around. “Chicken Little” was one of them. When I asked what the state was with that project, all my friend would say is that the movie started out being a very cute tale of a female chick who says the sky is falling and gets called a freak. She then gets sent to a camp where she met a bunch of other kids and makes friends and blah blah blah. A cute happy story. He said it was pretty good. Then he said for some reason, this whole project got scrapped, the little girl became a little boy and now the story was about aliens attacking the world. That was the last he had (and was interested) to hear of the project.

Also at this time the whole “Princess” line from Disney was being pitched in full force. This is where Glen comes into play. Dave Stainton had told the studio he wanted another fairy tale picture. So Glen Keane and some others had pitched a project based on a story called “The 12 Princesses”. Now, I’m not familiar the story but I was told it’s not about “12” princesses.

When this project was pitched to Dave — before (even) hearing the story — he stated 12 princesses is too many princesses to have in one story. So the project was turned down.

Back to the drawing board, Glen began conceptualizing a very beautiful Rapunzel fairy tale. He did concept illustration, motion tests and all this wonderful work showing how this movie could look….in 2D! Glen was trying VERY hard to get this film produced in 2D, stating — at the pitch — that the studio needed to produce more higher quality movies like the films of old. (“Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Beauty and the Beast” and whatnot.) He had literally done months of work preparing this pitch for “Rapunzel” to show them how well the movie could show her hair in 2D alone.

One of the comments actually made during the pitch (I am not making this up) was “What’s with all the hair?” After all of the work done by Glen (he was exhausted trying to prove his point), Stanton flat out told him the piece would be done in CG and no other way. Glen was offered a chance to learn CG and be an animator and he refused. He said “Absolutely not!” But he had already invested so much time into the project that he decided to stay on as storyboard and animation director to make sure the project was done to its best quality. Well, that’s what I have to say about that subject.

The real irony of the situation is that only prior to the Rapunzel incident, Glen had been called in to “fix” some shoddy CG work done on Ariel for some CG ride Disney had where a bunch of classic characters had been re-animated in CG. Glen was called in because the animator couldn’t animate her HAIR! Glen had to hand animate Ariel’s hair so the CG guys could see how it was done…….shrug. *sigh*

Well that’s about all I have…and can…say. Hopefully this info will be insightful to your readers should you use it. Thanks for your time Jim.

Well, as you can see, this story isn’t quite as simple as we first thought. And I would imagine that today’s article would get even more WDFA insiders to come forward and explain what’s actually going on with Deja and Keane. Two truly talented men who — let’s be frank here — really deserve to be treated better by the flaks who are currently running Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Which is why JimHillMedia.com is going to continue to follow this story. Even though it may result in even more hate mail being sent my way.

As for the hate mail … don’t worry. I’m a big boy. I can take it. Besides, every so often, a nice note shows up in the pile. Like this one — which came from a very good friend of JHM:

Hi Jim,

Seems you’re taking some heat over today’s column about Glen and Andreas.

Having talked to both Glen and Andreas, about Disney’s current problems, I can understand where they’re both coming from. While I don’t expect any one artist to put his career on the line, it would be nice if those wielding some degree of power could speak up for their colleagues. Well, it didn’t happen in the past, and I don’t expect it to happen now.

I don’t blame Andreas for working on those crappy direct-to-videos. Hell, I’ve done it myself. A buck is still a buck. While I know Glen will do his best on “Rapunzel Unbraided,” I still see that as a Disney version of “Shrek.” No originality at the mouse house these days, with the possible exception of Chris Sanders.

Don’t worry about those “self righteous” animators railing against you. Keep on reporting. I love to make them mad, too.

Okay. That note alone should stir up a few hornets at WDFA as well as out there in the traditional animation community.

So what do you folks think?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling

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Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont

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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage

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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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